Looking Ahead: The College Essay

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Hey there, thoughtful, curious, motivated students!

Show us your stuff. Tell us about yourself.

Give us an idea of who to expect when you arrive on campus.

Early summer is a great time to think about your college essay topic. Settling on a good idea is half the battle, so be prepared to focus and reflect on important or pivotal experiences you’ve had during your high school years. Take a look at the prompts below and spend some time relating the questions to your own life. Spin a few stories with family or friends and challenge yourself to weave a strong personal narrative that will open the door to all sorts of exciting college opportunities.

 

2018-2019 Common Application Essay Prompts

1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

4. Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma – anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.

5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.